Bring out the Moonshine: Lawless and Other Prohibition-Era Flicks We Love

August 30, 2012

Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy in Lawless. Photo credit: Richard Foreman / The Weinstein Company

Travel to a land of outlaws and moonshine, bootleggers and bespoke suits with Lawless, hitting theatres on August 29. In this gritty tale set in rural Virginia during the Prohibition, Jack (Shia LaBeouf), Forrest (Tom Hardy), and Howard (Jason Clarke) are the Bondurant brothers, owners of a thriving bootlegging business who find themselves threatened by a group of gangsters. A chicago mobster (Gary Oldman) and a crooked government official (Guy Pearce) will do anything to cut into the brothers’ profits, including launching a grisly attack rife with bloody shootouts, brass-knuckled fights, and backwoods humor.

The epic crime saga is based on Matt Bondurant’s 2008 historical novel The Wettest County in the World, which chronicles his ancestors’ activities during the Prohibition. If you, like us, can’t get enough of period pieces from this era, try these new and classic films.

Bonnie and Clyde
In this iconic 1967 film, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway star as Bonnie and Clyde, the indelible outlaw duo who traveled throughout the U.S. on a legendary crime spree. This controversial film, redefined violence on the screen and resonated with the rebellious spirit of the decade. The engaging performances, plus the fearless mixture of romance, comedy, and tragedy, made it a permanent fixture in American cinema.

Miller’s Crossing
The Coen brothers’ stylish take on the gangster genre tells the story of a mob war that breaks out when an Irish crime boss (Albert Finney) stands in the way of an Italian mafia murder in order to protect his lover’s brother (John Turturro). The film has been lauded as one of the Coen brothers’ best for its sharp dialogue, brilliant cinematography, and quirky characters. Gabriel Byrne and Marcia Gay Harden also star.

The Great Gatsby
In the third adaptation, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, of the F. Scott Fitzgerald 1925 novel, Robert Redford is Jay Gatsby, the mysterious millionaire who tries to join New York’s society by throwing lavish parties in his Long Island home. His real motive, however, is to win back the heart of Daisy Buchanan (Mia Farrow), who’s now married to Tom (Bruce Dern). Winner of two Academy Awards.

Of Mice and Men
In this elegant adaptation of John Steinbeck’s classic novel, George (Gary Sinise) and Lennie (John Malkovich) are two brothers who search for jobs during the Great Depression, hoping to one day realize their dream of owning a piece of land and building a home. They move from place to place, finally finding work at a ranch in California, where Lennie is tormented by the owner Curley (Casey Siemaszko) and tempted by Curley’s wife (Sherilyn Fenn).